The X-Wing raked in from astern, its pilot having negated the Interceptor's advantage in speed and agility through a combination of luck and good judgement - a quartet of pale scarlet bolts catching the TIE and dropping its shields before the next burst 'killed' it, the fighter's engines cutting out and IFF changing to represents its demise. The victorious pilot lasted another 30 seconds before his luck failed him, an evasive bank drawing him into the fire from the Nebulon-B's forward battery, a flurry of emerald shots spearing into him from starboard, rolling the fighter as it too went dark.
The frigate and its screening Interceptor squadron, down one pilot, reformed into a loose cordon while the frigate continued its sensor sweep, one of the handful of recon forces that the Warrior had dispatched to probe routes of advance and draw out any ambushes. On this occasion they had clearly been successful, dropping out of lightspeed practically on top of an 'enemy' scout doing exactly the same thing. The compact holonet transceiver on the Nebulon's bridge took several seconds to connect to its peer on the bridge of the Warrior, the delay and audible clicks suggesting a precautionary rerouting of signals to throw off any enemy intelligence gathering.
"Sir, we've encountered enemy forces, a single snubfighter picket within tactical grid... GF16. Our screen silenced him before any transmission could be made, for the loss of one of our own fighters."
"Understood - ensure your pilot returns to the exercise control area as per the standing orders, for all intents and purposes he's 'dead' after all. Continue your reconnaissance and report any further contact, your acceptable loss ratio is 25% - preserve your pilots where possible and don't overextend." The Commodore considered his orders carefully as he made them, repeating what the more junior officer had already been told a dozen times through reports and directives, but doing so regardless. An exercise mentality often led to a relaxed or cocky approach, they all needed to behave just as they would in a real threat scenario and that meant a careful husbanding of resources and lives.
"Understood Admiral, we'll continue as ordered. Pan going dark until our next report." The holo fizzled into static and shut down, leaving the Commodore to consider his thoughts for a moment. He usually disliked splitting his battle group, but in this unusual exercise format he needed to get to grips with the setting and threat - previous exercises had pitted the Warrior against her sister ship, but it looked like both were undertaking similar exercises in isolation. That changed things - the Hammer had a distinct operating style and her commanders and senior officers tended to stick to a recognisably Imperial method, with occasional exceptions. A rebel themed aggressor force with unknown command and composition was a different prospect entirely.
He turned his back on the comms station and paced back to the main bridge area, watching the bustling activity in both command pits, seniors on the shoulders of seated technicians and a rapid series of reports and orders rattling back and forth. Each was a model of efficiency, but each in a slightly different manner - the engineers somehow always seemed slightly more laconic, their hierarchy less formal as was often the case where every team member was an expert in several fields or a skilled technician. In contrast the command and executive teams were far more rigid, adhering to their strictly worded reports and communicating precisely - the overlapping sensor and weapons feeds constantly moving and shifting with balletic grace.
The comms station sat at the rear of the command bridge on the starboard side, a cluster of crew sat at complex terminals talking quietly into a variety of headsets and more complex equipment, with a sweeping holonet transceiver suite capable of putting the entire group's senior officers into a conference mode and visible to the Commodore and his staff. A broad hatch behind them led to a more secure comms suite, a naval trooper standing watchfully as sentry. The port side had a mirrored arrangement, but a different role - the fighter command station, distinctive with its quarter of officers handling the small craft approaching and departing the ISD, with a duty watch captain keeping careful control. The Commodore allowed them a certain liberty, with all four officers wearing flighsuits rather than duty uniforms - a concession he knew was appreciated and which many other commanders would have refused with indignation amidst claims of 'standards', but he also knew from experience that the roles were high pressure and uncomfortable, with each in the seat for 6 hours at a time. He was no tyrant, while he had no desire to lose a fighter or shuttle due to a tired flight controller. The hatch beyond them led to his own ready room and briefing area, a comfortable space often unused as he found it difficult to shake years of habit as a watchkeeper, pacing the bridge and undoubtedly earning the ire of his juniors who wished he'd leave them alone to do their work.
The massive blast door at the rear of the bridge sat open, albeit ready to spring shut and seal at the slightest hint of danger - ably guarded by a further pair of naval troopers. During his time stationed over Coruscant, many years previously, he had heard a compelling if horrifying tale of the same blast doors on the Coronet sealing unexpectedly during a series of drills - crushing the vessel's captain as he stepped onto the bridge. As a note he had checked with the Warrior's engineers and they had revealed that there was indeed no proximity safety in the event of an emergency - a point that had stuck with him and led to his often rapid ingress and egress onto the bridge.
Stretching his shoulders he realised that he'd spent nearly two full watches on the bridge - never mind a tired flight controller or force of habit, a tired admiral would make mistakes. Nodding to the officer of the watch, he straightened his tunic and turned towards the turbolift, mind still playing through the possibilities the scenario might bring into being.